Roof Ice Damage 101: Prevention and Solutions


It’s never a bad time to talk about roof ice, either from a prevention or a remedy standpoint.  We’d like to take a minute to answer a few common questions about ice damage.  What causes ice buildup? What damages are caused by roof ice? How we can you prevent it, and what do you do (or not do) when you’ve already got the ice?

Ice Damage 101

A buildup of ice referred to as an ice dam is most noticeable during late winter or early spring.

Heat from your home, as well as from the sun melts snow on your roof, and the water travels down your roof, freezing at the eaves edge.  This ice accumulates most noticeably at the eaves and gutters both as a thick mass and as icicles.  The problem can be compounded when you have clogged or improperly installed gutters.

Hazards range from falling ice, damage to your gutters, and even structural problems.

Ice can lift your roofing materials (i.e., shingles) and begin to penetrate into your roof. Once the water penetrates your roof, it can cause problems in attics, ceilings, and walls –  even creating conditions for mold problems.


While there’s nothing you can do about the sun’s rays, there are a number of things that can be done to prevent ice dams.  Be sure to have proper insulation and venting to address the source of the problem, heat escaping your home that’s trapped in your attic.  

But there’s more than can be done.  Properly installed gutters help to direct water away, while heated cables help keep the water flowing, and prevent ice accumulation.  Finally, gutter covers prevent your gutters from clogging with debris like leaves, that without the seasonal maintenance can leave your gutters virtually useless.


Help! I’ve already got an ice dam!  Not a problem.

What not to do:  Don’t chip the ice away yourself.  Methods of chipping can seriously damage your roofing, and allow the water to penetrate as previously described.  This can also be dangerous for you.

What to do:  Give us a call for emergency ice removal.  We’ve got a special machine that will utilize steam to quickly and safely melt the ice on your roof without damaging it.  Then, breathe a sigh of relief.  The urgent problem is now a memory.  Finally, let’s discuss some prevention so you can avoid future problems.

Our emergency services cover a large area of Northern Michigan.  We service Traverse City, Petoskey, Gaylord, Cheboygan, Charlevoix, and many of the surrounding communities.  Give us a call if you’re unsure about your situation.  We’re here to help!


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